- “Some people see the world as it is. They believe the environment around them is static, immutable and that setbacks are a sign that they should settle for what they have. I prefer to think of the world as it could be. It's a journey to create something bigger and better. If I don't try, I'll never know how big it could be.”
- ―Dreamfinder, Disney Kingdoms: Figment
Dreamfinder is a character that first appeared in the original incarnation of Journey Into Imagination, an attraction that operated from 1982 to 1998 at EPCOT Center's Imagination Pavilion at Walt Disney World. Dreamfinder's backstory is later explored in Disney Kingdoms: Figment, an ongoing Marvel Comics title that began in 2014, where his real name is revealed as Blarion "Blair" Mercurial.
The Dreamfinder created Figment, a tiny royal purple dragon made of two tiny wings, big yellow eyes, horns of a steer, and (as Birmbaums calls it) the body of a lizard and a nose of a crocodile, plus a dash of childish delight. He teaches Figment about the wonders of imagination and takes riders along through all of Figment's overdone splendors in his machine's Idea Bag.
Dreamfinder was recycled from concepts for a character named Professor Marvel designed for the unbuilt Discovery Bay. Professor Marvel was an eccentric bearded inventor that was the host of "Professor Marvel's Gallery of Illusion" who was accompanied by a pet dragon. When Discovery Bay was scrapped, the project's designer Tony Baxter sought out ways to recycle some of his ideas and initially planned to bring a Professor Marvel-inspired character to The Land pavilion called "The Landkeeper", who would have hosted the attraction that became Listen to the Land.
Eventually, Tony was put onto Kodak's Imagination pavilion and the whimsical inventor found a home there as the Dreamfinder, with the dragon's color changing from green to purple to become Figment. Within Journey into Imagination's metaphoric storyline about the creative process, Dreamfinder became a manifestation of "the right brain" to Figment's "left brain", and represented the refined creative palette of an adult in contrast to Figment's childlike whimsy.
Dreamfinder is first introduced in the attraction of collecting sparks and ideas with his flying machine. He creates Figment from the sparks and invites the guests to travel with him to his workshop at the Dreamport and the Realms of Imagination.
Dreamfinders was a shortlived and possibly never aired show where Dreamfinder (here known as Old Eli) took children on adventures through the Realm of Imagination while avoiding a villain named Fear and his dark realm, the Bewilderness.
Dreamfinder stars along with Figment in the Marvel Comics line on the park characters.
This comic explores the origins of Dreamfinder (originally known as Blarion "Blair" Mercurial) and Figment.
Born in 1882, he was a young inventor from a poor background studying at the Scientifica Lucida science academy in London in the year 1910. Blair's ambitious and restless creativity met with some opposition from the faculty who don't really know what to do with him. With the demand for new energy sources, Blair has been experimenting in harnessing energy from human thought with a device he calls the Integrated Mesmonic Convertor.
Early testing of the device ended in near disaster, though further revisions would yield some actual results: Figment and a portal of pure mesmonic energy into the world of imagination. Figment and Blair are sucked into this portal, encountering strange lands and stranger creatures and eventually find themselves stuck in the Nightmare Nation.
Meanwhile, back in London, the chairman's demand for order when trying to stop the portal has opened the door to Clockwork Control, home of a sinister robotic commander — The Singular and his Articulate Army. Blair, now dubbed the Dreamfinder, makes his escape with Figment and returns to London to stop the threat.
After retrieving the Mesmonic Convertor helmet in a rooftop encounter with the Singular, Dreamfinder makes a quick jump into a portal to create a new Dream Machine: The iconic blimp from the attraction. He uses this to suck up the robots to turn into tools to allow the people of London to fight back. The Singular tries to stop Dreamfinder by attacking the machine, but the others distract him long enough for Dreamfinder to create a portal powerful enough to suck the Singular, the Articulate Army, as well as himself and Figment. Illocrant decides to honor his sacrifice by continuing to pay Blair's salary to his poor family though, within the portal, Dreamfinder and Figment are now flying over a lush green land with Spaceship Earth rising over the horizon.
Picking up where the first series left off, Dreamfinder and Figment land the Dream Machine when it starts having troubles running properly. They discover that they have traveled a century in time, arriving at the Academy's new Florida campus (designed after The Imagination Pavilion itself). Upon discovering a memorial statue in the school's lobby, they are approached by Chairman Auckley, who believes them to be imposters. Fye, now an aged professor at the school, vouches for their identities and ask for Dreamfinder's help with the Academy's energy issues and solving the mystery of an anomalous geodesic sphere (Spaceship Earth) that's been tapped into as an energy source. The duo suggests the power of imagination to help, but a botched demonstration of the Dream Machine that destroys it entirely makes Auckley more skeptical of their reputation and their relevance. Fye arranges for them to have a second chance the next day.
Distraught, Dreamfinder struggles with adapting to modern technology and feels helplessly out of date, bringing back his confidence problems from before while Figment tries to keep optimistic. A demonstration of the original Mesmonic Converter is arranged, but Dreamfinder's doubts start speaking to him in the back of his mind. As the machine has trouble starting, he begins losing the audience's interest and Auckley's patience. When the machine finally starts running, the geodesic sphere disappears. Auckley immediately blames Dreamfinder and tells him he's ruined everything. Dreamfinder's doubts emerge as a nightmare creature called Doubt, which proceeds to wreak havoc. Dreamfinder tells Figment to go get help while he tries suppressing Doubt, but this only allows it to possess him, transforming him into the Doubtfinder. The dark being begins taking over the school, zombifying the students.
Figment eventually finds help in the form of Capri, a young inventor, and Dreamfinder's great-great-great grandniece. Having made eager attempts to apply to the school to follow in her uncle's footsteps, she immediately agrees to help. They sneak back to the Academy, now known as Academy Fearifica-Greedus. Stealing the helmet of the Mesmonic Converter, Capri defies the Doubtfinder's negativity and brings her own imaginary friend to life, a flying cat named Spark. The three open a gateway into Doubt's shadows and jump inside to free the Dreamfinder.
Traveling through twisted childhood memories and a great maze, the three find Dreamfinder trapped in his fear and self-loathing. Capri and Figment snap him out of his depression by reminding him of his good nature and how inspirational he is in spite of his mistakes. Dreamfinder is freed and the darkness of the Doubt fades away, allowing the four to escape back into the real world. Battling the Doubt, now in the form of a monster, and the mind-controlled faculty, Dreamfinder takes the Mesmonic Convertor and tweaks the settings to allow everybody to bring their dreams to life, destroying the helmet in the process. As everybody is freed from the grip of the Doubt, an army of imaginary friends is brought to life. Dreamfinder declares that Imagination is stronger then Fear, Figment, and the army overwhelm and destroy the Doubt. Having saved the Academy and given them a new power source in the form of imagination itself, Auckley offers Dreamfinder a teaching position at the school, but he and Figment decline, wanting to explore the realms of Imagination some more before settling down and wanting to find Spaceship Earth. Bringing a new Dream Machine into existence, Dreamfinder and Figment fly into the sunrise, reassuring Capri that they'll always be there in her dreams.
- His same Audio-Animatronic cast was used for the mayor of Phantom Canyon in Phantom Manor.
- At the Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th event, as part of the Magic Journeys concert that concluded the weekend, Dreamfinder and Figment made a surprise live appearance to sing "One Little Spark" with Richard Sherman.
- He appeared at the 2013 D23 Expo at the Disney Legends ceremony for Tony Baxter and greeted guests on the Expo floor at the Imagineering exhibit.
- Dreamfinder makes an audio cameo in the Skipper Canteen's Mess Hall, sometimes being heard asking where he can park the Dream Machine.